Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Fat Of The Land

The Fat Of The Land

Like many people I could lose a pound or two with little difficulty and look and feel better for doing so. Unlike many people, I am aware of this.
Now, I’m not an old man far from it, at thirty nine I may have passed the tipping point of my prime but I can still remember the great days of the early nineties when going on holiday meant sharing beaches with fine looking people; the Mediterranean coasts were literally awash with good looks and glamour, a perception admittedly assisted by alcohol but a fair reflection all the same. However, not enough booze exists to make many of today's Brits abroad look palatable. At holiday resorts frequented by the British the appearance of David Attenborough and a camera crew is half expected as you would be forgiven for thinking that you’d arrived at a seal colony given the abundance of blubber.  

We live in strange times when the majority of people sporting sports attire are those least likely to engage in anything that would even raise the heart rate of those of us able to see our feet and reach our genitals. They don’t look sporty just as I don’t look like a nineteenth century gold prospector when I pull on a pair of jeans.

The men generally opt for a trip to Sports Direct to pick up a few 4XL t-shirts and jogging bottoms. The women tend to adhere strictly to a different dress code that allows them free rein as regards their torso but mandates leggings on the bottom. Leggings, however comfortable, are rarely flattering, especially on the fuller figured wearer. White ones forgive nothing whilst black ones create a sort of giant black pudding illusion.

A friend recently started internet dating, he was seduced by the myth that it is normal (it isn’t) and being new to the whole thing wasn’t really up to speed with the jargon and various acronyms used on such sites. Thinking that a broad cast of his net would yield better results, he had to endure a number of dates trying to disguise his disappointment with his hulking fellow diner before he realised that BBW apparently stands for big beautiful woman; he felt MOPS would have been rather more appropriate - morbidly obese panting slug. Things didn’t improve a great deal when he got the hang of things and decided to refine his criterion. Average sized and even slim were the next lies being purported in the cyber love search. When did corpulent become average or slim? The problem is that many people who are indeed overweight seem to think that because they are part of a sizable and growing (in every sense) minority, their size is in fact normal and rather than being mocked for their porcine gluttony they should be considered perfectly acceptable specimens.

I enjoy eating, its a pleasant thing to do. What I don’t understand is comfort eating. I suppose that I must derive some sort of comfort from eating but only the comfort of no longer being hungry having emptied my calorie bank. As a rational, pragmatic individual I tend to look for solutions to any problems I may have rather than ways to compound them. Post-war Britain was a pretty miserable, austere place, did everyone comfort eat? 70s Britain saw massive inflation, the three day week, the winter of discontent, did our bulldog spirit lead us to chow? Thatcher dismantled the remnants of British industry, did we mewl into our microwave meals? See where I’m going? You’re a fat rotter, it understandably upsets you. Solution, eat more. Give me strength!

I’m not a body fascist (whatever that means), I don’t expect everyone to walk around taut and sinewy at their optimum fighting weight, I just want to see people with the general contours of people rather than sea mammals. Glandular problems, big bones? Nonsense. If glands were the problem more money would be pouring into glandular research than for both cancer and the common cold combined. It isn’t. Bones are hard, fat people are soft, I don’t think bones are the cause of their problems other than forming a scaffold from which to hang fat.

What happened to necks and waists? I’m struggling to recall when I last saw either, before too long I expect them be consigned to the history books, listed alongside dodos, mammoths and sabre toothed tigers but with more photographic evidence. We’ll become wistful and yearn for yesteryear when elders were respected, you could leave your doors unlocked and people boasted necks and waists and often both, great days.

What of the future? All of our signs would have to be modified as the stick figures currently used to denote human beings would no longer be a recognisable representation of the human form; fat folks would be in mortal peril, unable to heed that the warnings from unrecognisable signage.

I recently saw a guy on TV complaining that he had been refused a gastric band on the grounds that he wasn’t fat enough. Surely any right minded individual would breathe a sigh of relief at discovering that, whilst overweight, they weren’t actually morbidly obese and their very existence wasn’t threatened. Not this chap, he decided that the only solution to his problem was to gorge himself Henry VIII style until such time that he was considered fat enough to merit weight loss surgery. He’d managed to work out that eating more made him fatter but was unable to comprehend how cutting down would have the reverse effect.

Eat less and move more, it’s a simple equation which seems to befuddle our rotund friends. How about this one then? Substitute calories for pounds; if £4000 was deposited in your bank account each day and you only withdrew £2000 would you expect your balance to go up or down? If you can work it out you can lose weight, if you can’t happy heart attack.

Tim Mac

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